Wellington – The High-Tech Capital Of Asia Pacific

“Wellington is emerging as a rival to Sydney and Melbourne as the start-up hub of the Asia-Pacific region, with the New Zealand city positioning itself as a powerhouse for high-tech start-ups in fields such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence,” writes Yolanda Redrup in an article for the Australian Financial Review.

Earlier this year, LookSee – a program of the Wellington Economic and Regional Development Agency – offered 100 people the chance to come to Wellington for free to interview for jobs. It received 48,500 applicants, predominantly from the United States, Canada, Britain, Argentina and India.

“Wellington’s position at the moment is one of deep quality. We’re not looking to have low-quality tech jobs or call centres necessarily … Our focus is on attracting the R&D community in augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and really moving the dial in that space,” said WREDA business growth and innovation general manager David Jones.

“Despite having a relatively small population, the city is already producing start-ups that are recognised globally,” reports the article.

Holographic technology start-up 8i, which raised $US27 million in February from Time Warner Investments and existing investors is one of the tech startups based in Wellington. Rod Drury’s accounting software company Xero is another.

The city, which is home to fewer than 500,000 people “is also home to an outpost of secretive, next generation mixed-reality computing start-up Magic Leap, which has been valued at $US4.5 billion,” reports the article.

“One of Wellington’s natural advantages in creating high-tech start-ups is its strong film industry, thanks to Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, writes Redrup.

Former NASA rocket scientist Lance Lones, who relocated to Wellington said:  “I had worked on a few movies and then got the random phone call asking me to come to New Zealand for six months. That really was the plan – to come here for six months and then go back and do some science. But it totally sucked me in. The feeling, the people, the friendliness, the pace of life – everything is just me.”

“The chief executive of New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary Fellowship, Yoseph Ayele, is also from overseas, having been born in Ethiopia, but moving to the country from Silicon Valley.”

“I moved to New Zealand inspired to build innovative ventures in a small and agile country, and experiment in a way that may be challenging to do so in larger countries that move slowly,” he said. “I found New Zealand’s size, combined with sophisticated economy and institutions, ideal for taking advantage of network effects, and bringing different sectors together to build transformative solutions in a way you can’t in larger countries.”

Article Source: Australian Financial Review, Yolanda Redrup, July 24, 2017
Image Source: Wikipedia

Tags: 8i  Asia Pacific  Australian Financial Review (The)  high tech  Lance Lones  LookSee  Magic Leap  Wellington  Wellington Economic and Regional Development Agency  Weta Digital  Weta Workshop  Xero  Yoseph Ayele  

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